Baahstin and fish in cages

The fambly and I just drove back from Boston (picture free) where we visited some old friends. I really like visiting cities nowadays, whether big or small, but I’m glad to get out of them after two or three days. I am a bumpkin. I walk around with big eyes and look up at the veryverytall or buildings. I go to museums and attractions. I happily fail to dress like a city person. In only one way do I attempt to seem at all cool — I try not to look at maps while walking around. Otherwise, I am impressed by everything; I want to visit every single museum, gallery, and restaurant and maybe also eat all the pastries in the entire city. I am saddened to find this is not possible.

Last time I was in Boston, over ten years ago, I wanted to visit the aquarium but didn’t have the money. This time, though nobody in the family was very enthusiastic about it, I insisted that we go, dammit.

I don’t care for zoos but I stomach it and take my kids to them anyway because I feel that they have some serious value even though they I also feel they are by their nature ethically questionable. Brad doesn’t care for zoos and refuses to visit them entirely, but he came to the aquarium with us. There were some harbor seals in a tank that seemed pretty bored and it made me uncomfortable to look at them (I looked anyway and showed them to the kids). Aside from those, there were no aquatic mammals, I don’t think. There were a lot of penguins and a few sea turtles and some various invertebrates and lots and lots of fish, of course. I found that most of the other animals’ presence in captivity didn’t really bother me, even when I thought about it and tried to convince myself for a bit to let it bother me. I guess I am prejudiced in favor of mammals. I have tentative qualms on the penguins because they seem expressive and curious. But they didn’t seem bored. They seemed to be interacting with each other or not, as they wished. Many of them swam about energetically (not like the seals, which were just monotonously and seemingly-neurotically swimming end-to-end in the tank.) The penguins appeared fine to my untrained eye, so I am not overly qualmy about them. But my total lack of qualm on the reptiles, amphibians, fish, and various invertebrates interests me in a detached-feeling way. Are they really  unperturbed by captivity? Or do I just not relate to them well enough to see it? I can’t see myself worrying about the psychological state of a sea urchin or sea cucumber. Should a shark be different? A poison tree frog? A lion fish? A shrimp? I do not have confident answers, and I have thought of them many a time before. I mostly go by the complexity of the nervous system, but then there’s also the ability of an animal to somehow display reaction to captivity (or any conditions or stimuli), and that’s where my confidence and the available information fail me. I must admit subjectivity when I decide that it’s a-okay to have a turtle live in a clean and spacious tank but maybe not so much an otter (not present at the New England Aquarium, but on display at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY, where I also take my kids.)

Anyway, I’ll put those thought away and say that now I’ve (qualmlessly) seen sea dragons and cuttlefish and can die happy. Love you, Boston! Now please pardon while I get the hell away from you.

Let’s wrap up with a teen- and aquarium-inspired cinquain*, modern style:


leafy wet

ripple body ripple

hideous attractive plant-animal




*If I share this at writing club I will change the last word to “drift” so as to conceal the mocking. I promised a death connection in my cinquains online. I’d bet anything that some teenager, somewhere, if writing a poem about a sea dragon, would incorporate death in there, even in a little cinquain.


About sayingthings

K lives in the US with her man and kiddos, knits, cans, dehydrates, bakes bread, (but doesn't cook regular food, particularly), crochets, spins, gardens, studies for a degree that never seems to end, and um, works. Sometimes she wastes time online. Also -- and family, she's looking at you here -- sometimes she swears and says things you might not agree with. But she still loves you.

Posted on March 29, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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